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Former residents open up about conditions at Skylane Motel

COLONIE -- Continuing coverage on the problem motel shut down on Central Avenue.  As we first reported last night, police began closing the Skylane Motel at first, wanting to have everyone out by four yesterday afternoon.  That has since been extended to Monday giving residents a little more time to find a new home.


The town released photos of filthy rooms and the motel's owner, Alex Patel, has pleaded not guilty to the many charges against him.


One man says he just moved out of the Skylane Motel last week and said the conditions were awful, especially at this time of the year with temperatures dipping below zero.


"Believe me, it was a living hell," said Edward Stover.  Stover fell on hard times, and says with his wheelchair, he had no other option when it came to finding a place to call home.  Working poor and mentally ill people were among the other residents with whom Stover lived at the Skylane Motel.  Albany County DSS had even placed clients here over the years, but had removed its remaining client before this week.  


Stover is not one of them, but did believe he needed to get out.


"My bathroom didn't work, my heat didn't work, my door wouldn't lock, I would complain to the management and they told me if I didn't like it I could leave," Stover said.


Thursday Colonie Police were at the motel after Patel was charged with 254 code violations in court.  The town attorney released photos inside those rooms which showed mold and crumbling walls.  Stover said he didn't have any heat.


I stayed under my bed in blankets fully dressed," he said. "I can remember one night it was so cold my soda literally froze on my night stand."


Patel could face up to $750,000 in fines.  But there is a possibility the code violations could include jail time.  The town is also looking in to the circumstances surrounding the removal of placards it placed on the Skylane.  Whoever may be responsible for that could also face time behind bars.


"It was either this or the streets," Stover said.  "Being in that hotel, there's really no difference than being on the streets."